Monday, November 12, 2007

Genie Industries plans for global expansion - Puget Sound Business Journal

Out of expansion space in Redmond, and with its sales growing rapidly overseas, Genie Industries Inc. is stretching in new directions to sell its machines around the world.

read more | digg story

For decades, Genie Industries was one of Redmond's best-kept secrets. Its blue people-lifting machines were ubiquitous at construction sites around North America, but the once privately held company remained nearly invisible in the local community, eschewing press coverage.

But now, five years after being acquired by Westport, Conn.-based Terex Corp., and 10 months after getting new President Tim Ford, Genie is rapidly changing into a global company, and one that's much more accessible to the outside world.

"We're making the transition from Genie being a company, which it is ... toward philosophically thinking about Genie being a brand. That's a big transition to make, for the organization," said Ford, 45.

Tucked into an industrial area just blocks east of Redmond's bustling Whole Foods Market, Genie Industries' 10 leased buildings cover 843,350 square feet. The company employs 3,200 people in Redmond and 5,000 worldwide, making it the city's second-largest private employer after Microsoft.

And Genie is growing fast. It makes up 75 percent of Terex's Aerial Work Platform division, which grew 41 percent between 2005 and 2006, and hit $1.7 billion in sales in the first nine months of fiscal 2007. Terex itself, headquartered in Westport, Conn., grew 20 percent last year to $7.6 billion in 2006 sales.

Genie's machines lift workers, and to a lesser degree materials, up to job sites. The machines are the ladders of the 21st century, and Genie makes them in a wide array of sizes and configurations. Small battery-powered scissor lifts can operate within existing buildings, while the largest machines are driven by internal combustion engines, and can reach more than 100 feet into the air. Nearly every machine Genie makes is the same cyan blue, chosen by the founders in the 1970s.

"What these products do is replace the need for scaffolding, in a more productive, and safer manner ... Boom products are much safer, in terms of worker safety," Ford said.

Genie is one of the two largest producers of people-lifting equipment in the world, each controlling about 40 percent of the global market. Its main competitor is JLG Industries Inc. of McConnellsburg, Pa., which is of similar size and which makes a similar line of products. JLG is owned by Oshkosh Trucking Corp., of Oshkosh, Wis.

Around the world, Ford is re-creating Genie into a global entity that is developing a significant manufacturing presence in Europe and Asia, to serve its customers there. Most of Genie's current growth is from overseas markets, particularly in Europe, where sales this year are up 46 percent over last year. While the company has historically sold two-thirds of its production in North America, Ford said the Asian and European portions are growing fast enough to eventually account for two-thirds of the total.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Leaning Tower of Pisa Most Tilted Tower No More!

German steeple challenges leaning tower of Pisa

BERLIN (Reuters) - The Guinness Book of World Records has ruled that a church steeple in Germany, not the famous leaning tower of Pisa, is the most tilted tower in the world.

The 25.7-metre steeple tilts at an angle of 5.07 degrees, while the tower of Pisa tilts at just 3.97 degrees, said Olaf Kuchenbecker, head of Guinness's German edition.

"When you lay photos of the two next to each other you can see it relatively clearly," Kuchenbecker said.

The new record, scheduled to appear next autumn in the 2009 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, could strip the Pisa tower of its iconic status, Kuchenbecker said.

The 15th century German church tower stands in Suurhusen, a small village near Emden in northwestern Germany. Although its tilt angle is greater than Pisa's tower, it is less than half its height and has none of its ornate beauty.

Kuchenbecker will present the village with a certificate commemorating the record on Thursday.

(Reporting by Naomi Kresge; Editing by Golnar Motevalli)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Landslide victory

Technology News Published: 11 July 2005 12:00 AM, Source: The Engineer

Rugged fibre optic sensors that will help detect landslides and accurately monitor soil movement under railway and bridge embankments are being developed by UK researchers. A multi-disciplinary research team is hoping to produce highly sensitive arrays of sensors that will be able to detect the pressure of water in granular soil, but are tough enough to survive being buried in harsh environments.

As well as monitoring soil movement and pressure the sensors will provide information about its chemical makeup and stability. Dr Stephen James of Cranfield University, who is leading the team comprising researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen, said that the project’s aim is to develop a ‘multi-parameter’ sensing approach to soils.

‘Existing soil-monitoring technology can only provide data on one parameter at a time,’ said James. ‘If a borehole is dug into the soil and an inclinometer is put in, it can only measure the deformation of the soil. It doesn’t look at the pressure of water trapped within the soil, which is an important factor in soil stability. A complex interplay of physical properties determine the stability of soil.’

The sensors are based on fibre bragg-grating technology, in which a specially designed, 5mm wide structure is etched into the core of a fibre-optic cable. Light is beamed along the length of the cable and, when it encounters the structure, one particular wavelength of light is bounced back towards the source. If the cable is stretched or heated up then the properties of the structure and the wavelength of light that it bounces back are both altered slightly. By analysing the wavelength shift the engineers will receive crucial information about the condition of the buried cable and the soil around it.

Along the length of the cable there will be a large number of the structures, each with its own determined wavelength, so the engineers will know exactly which part of the cable the wavelength comes from. The main problem for the researchers is how to make sensors rugged enough to endure being buried beneath the ground for long periods of time, while still maintaining a high level of sensitivity. The team has experimented with a composite carbon fibre coating but it wasn’t ideal.

James said: ‘The composite coatings worked well in terms of allowing the cable to interact with the strain of the soil around it but they were no good in detecting the pressure of water or chemical sensing, so we’ll have to keep on looking for the right material for the job.’

According to James, the technology’s wide range of potential applications includes monitoring coastlines and dams to detecting avalanches and landslides. Later this year the team is taking the technology to Iceland, where it will be used to monitor the internal movements of a glacier. Similar sensor technology is also being considered for use on civil structures such as buildings and bridges.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Heads up Bambi, modern technology increases aiming accuracy

New in equipment

By The Tribune-Review
Sunday, September 2, 2007

Bushnell has taken its ARC -- or angle range compensation -- technology and put it in a new laser rangefinder. The Scout 1000 will range deer to 300 yards, trees and other large objects to 600 yards, and highly reflective objects to 1,000 yards. What makes it unique, however, is that it has an inclinometer that measures shooting angles and their effect on arrow and bullet trajectory. What that means is that, in bow mode, the rangefinder determines the true horizontal distance from an archer in a tree stand to his prey at angles of up to 60 degrees. Rifle hunters taking extreme uphill or downhill shots can determine the necessary holdover from 100 to 800 yards. Power is supplied by a 3-volt battery. Suggested retail price is $299. For information: write Bushnell Corp., 9200 Cody, Overland Park, KS 66214-1734; call 913-752-3400; or visit

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mobile Crane Inspection Guidelines for OSHA Compliance Officers

Appendix C - Basic Crane Components

In addition to reviewing the OSHA and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards/requirements for mobile construction cranes, it is important that each inspector have a basic knowledge of crane components and their general purpose. The following is a list of basic crane components which should be included in any inspection. In addition to a description or purpose statement photographs are provided to help the inspector recognize each item. The list may not be inclusive, but is intended to be an aid for an inspector who may not be a crane expert.

  1. Manufacturer's operating and maintenance manuals shall accompany all mobile hoisting equipment. These manuals set forth inspection, operation, and maintenance criteria for each mobile crane and not generally available from any other source.
  2. All exposed moving parts such as gears, chains reciprocating or rotating parts are to be guarded or isolated.
  3. The swing radius of the counterweight shall be established and guarded to prevent personnel or other equipment from being struck by the counterweight. Special attention shall be given to guarding of the swing radius when near buildings or other structures. The swing radius guarding is intended to simply be a warning device and not necessarily a barricade guard rail. There are no strength requirements associated with swing radius protection.
  4. High voltage warning signs shall be displayed on the exterior of the equipment on each side and on the counterweight of the crane.
  5. Boom stops are telescoping, shock absorbing, or hydraulic-type safety devices designed and installed in a manner to stop or shut off power to the boom controls. The purpose of the boom stops is to prevent the boom from being raised to a point where the center of gravity is shifted to the rear of the crane causing the boom to fall backwards from to lack of resistance and/or control of boom movement.
  6. Boom stops can be inspected and checked for proper function by raising the boom very slowly until contact is made and power for boom movement is stopped.
  7. Jib stops are restraints designed to prevent the jib from being raised to the point that it overturns onto the boom sections. Jib stops, like boom stops, are telescoping, shock absorbing, hydraulic devices, designed to warn the operator that the jib load block has approached the point at which overtipping/overturning is possible if raising the load line continues.
  8. Boom Angle Indicators are required to indicate the angle of the boom tip from the base section on a horizontal plane. They may be either mechanical (activated by gravity) or electronic, with a display readout in the cab. Accurate readout of boom angle determines load capacity and working radius.
  9. Boom Hoist Disconnects are designed to automatically stop the boom from hoisting when the boom reaches a predetermined high angle
  10. Anti-Two Block Devices are designed to prevent a hoist block and/or load from being hoisted into contact with the boom tip by putting sufficient stress on the wire rope that it is either cut or stressed to the point that the line separates and the load falls onto someone or something. ANSI requires that all hydraulic cranes be equipped with anti-two block devices.
  11. All functions of hydraulic cranes feature "power controlled lowering". Safety devices known as "holding valves" or "counter balance" valves, which prevent uncontrolled decent in the event of hydraulic pressure loss. To test the effectiveness of these safety devices, retract the cylinders or lower the hoist drum with the engine not running. This would apply to the boom lift and extension cylinder as well as the outrigger cylinders and hoist drums. No movement should take place without hydraulic pressure.
  12. Leveling of the crane is extremely important. If a crane is out of level more than 1o it exerts a side load on the crane, and can effect structural capacity. It also can increase the load radius when the crane is rotated to another quadrant of operation.
  13. All sheaves should be checked for cracks, grooving, or damage from two-blocking. Undue looseness in the bearing or bushing should be noted. The sheave's groove surface should be smooth and slightly larger than the wire rope being used. It should be checked with a sheave gauge to be sure it is the proper size for the wire rope being used. On most hydraulic cranes, sheave guards which prevent the wire rope from coming off the sheave, are removable pins. Be sure that all of these pins are in place.
  14. Drum lagging and flanges should be inspected for cracks or other deficiencies and winch mounting bolts should be checked. Any undue movement of the drum on its bearings should be noted. The wire rope anchoring to the drum should meet the manufacturers specifications and must not be "overspooled". In other words, with the rope fully spooled on the drum, the drum flanges must extend above the top wrap of the rope. Any spoiling devices, such as rollers, or drum rotation indicators, must be functioning properly.
  15. All components of the boom assembly should be checked for cracks, bends, or other deformities. On hydraulic cranes, special attention should be given to the topside of the boom where the extension sections exert an upward force. All connecting pins and bolts should be checked. Wear pads should be adjusted properly or replace if necessary.
  16. Hooks should be examined to see if they are cracked or distorted beyond allowable tolerances. No welding or heating should be done on hooks. Hooks and blocks should be labeled as to their capacity and weight.
  17. Connecting bolts on block cheek plates should be checked. Hook swivels and sheave guards should also be checked.
  18. All hydraulic hoses, fittings, swivels, and tubings should be checked for leaking. On flexible hoses, be sure that the working pressure stamped on the hose is more than the working pressure it will be exposed to.
  19. Outrigger beams and housings should be checked for cracks or distortions. Outrigger floats, or pads, should be checked for damage. The floats must have the capacity to be securely attached to the outriggers. Outrigger beams should be marked to indicate when they are fully extended.
  20. A durable load rating chart for the specific model and serial number of the crane shall be accessible to the operator at his operating or work station. All limitations, warnings, specifications and safety data should be displayed
  21. Wire rope should be removed from service when the conditions listed in 29 CFR 1926.550(a)(7) are found. They include outside wire wear, reduction in diameter, broken wires, distortion, corrosion, or heat damage. Special attention should be given to standing rope, such as pendants, at the end fittings. It should be determined that the wire rope is the proper diameter, length, and type of construction for that particular crane and it should be spooled evenly on the hoist drum.
  22. The cab should be clean and free from clutter. All controls should be labeled as to their function and free to return to the neutral position when released, unless designed to do otherwise. All gauges and warning lights should be operable and a fire extinguisher (at least 5-BC) should be mounted in the cab. The seat should be securely attached and the cab door should open outward and operate smoothly. Electrical and other warning signs should be posted in the cab. All glass must be safety glass with no cracks or distortions.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rieker RDI Series

Available as a display or remote sensor package, Rieker's RDI Series digital inclinometers improve the vehicle operator's ability to detect dangerous roll-over situations before equipment damage or injury can occur.

read more | digg story

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Integrated management for a tension leg platform

Integrated management for a tension leg platform

Fig. 1. The TLP and its moorings are designed the ferocity of a ‘1000 year’ storm.

Acomplete PLC-based integrated marine management system, (IMMS), has been supplied by Strainstall UK Limited for a new tension leg platform, (TLP), to be deployed in the deepwater area of the Gulf of Mexico.
The standalone TLP will be in a water depth of approximately 4300feet, around 120 miles from the Louisiana coast, and will have a nominal production capacity of 100000barrels of oil and 50 million cubic feet of gas per day.
The IMMS consists of a distributed PLC system and Strainstall manufactured subsea load cells. The load cells were designed and manufactured by Strainstall.
Designed for a 25 year life at a nominal water depth of 114ft and the maximum tendon loads estimated in a 1000-year storm, the load cell design has been approved by the Classification Society, ABS. The sensors are installed in the tendon top connectors, and from these the strain gauge bridge networks are routed to the hull junction boxes via underwater mateable connectors and offshore underwater cables. The PLC system is located in the hull, where Strainstall developed PLC logic and HMI display software provides the operator with data from a number of parameters on the TLP.
All data inputs, and the control of systems are available through local touch-screen interface panels and remotely through fibre and wireless networks. The system features include the following:

  • Tendon data that incorporates load and bending moments from redundant strain gauges in the subsea load cells.
  • Reports on the height of the deck above the sea surface and wave conditions from installed air gap sensors.
  • Both permanent and temporary ballast tank levels which are monitored through a network of bubblers.
  • Additional bubblers and subsea pressure sensors that provide platform draft and calculated inclination. An on-board inclinometer is also included.
  • Ballast control using a software interface that coordinates the operation of pumps and valves to distribute ballast according to platform parameters. All information affecting ballasting decisions is available through the system, as are the controls themselves. The use of any control is subject to password protection, according to operator permissions.
  • Information on the absolute position of the platform using GcGPS (Globally corrected GPS). This feature provides sub-metre positional accuracy in offshore locations.
  • MMS compliant current data that is generated using Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCPs). A sideways-looking sensor provides the surface details, whilst a downwards-looking sensor provides the subsea details.
  • Reporting on a number of meteorological conditions, including wind speed and direction, air temperature and pressure.

Sandy Thomas is Marine Director, Strainstall UK Ltd, Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Callibration Services for Nanotechnology Metrology Instruments from CEMMNT

The Centre of Excellence in Metrology for Micro and Nano Technologies (CEMMNT) has expanded its measurement, characterisation and design capabilities for industry to provide extensive calibration and test services through its UKAS accredited partners which include the National Physical Laboratory and Ametek Taylor Hobson. CEMMNT delivers a fast turn-around service to re-certify standard samples, calibrate metrology instrumentation and measure components. New standard samples are available for verifying the performance of stylus, optical, scanning probe, coordinate measuring machines and similar instruments. Artefacts, such as 1-D and 2-D grid plates, linescales and graticules, specifically designed for microscopy instruments can be supplied or re-verified.

Customer samples can be calibrated traceably for critical dimensions, texture, straightness and roundness to internationally recognised standards. A wide range of parts and components can be measured calibrated or certified. Optical lenses, flats and spheres can be tested for form, asphericity and flatness. Dimensions can be determined for engineering components including spheres, plugs, rings, gauge blocks and length bars. Equipment such as autocollimators, angle gauges, polygons, instrument tables, clinometers, prisms and telescopes can all be calibrated and certified.

CEMMNT additionally provides services to calibrate metrology instrumentation either at client sites or in partner centres of excellence.

Posted August 1st, 2007, AZoNano™.com - The A to Z of Nanotechnology

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

(this bridge's architecture and function is very cool, nice use of tilt in a fantastic design)

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

(image credit:

Spanning the River Tyne in England between Gateshead on the south bank and Newcastle-upon-Tyne on the north, the next bridge in our journey was another of the projects commissioned for the turn of the Millennium. It is a pedestrian and cycle bridge, instead of a stereotypical automobile bridge, and its design provided designers Wilkinson Eyre (a high-profile architecture firm) with the 2002 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize.

What’s special about this bridge is its ability to allow boats and other water traffic to move underneath it, despite being relatively low to the surface of the river. Mini hydraulic rams on each side of the bridge tilt it back on special pivots, lifting the bridge out of the way of those attempting to go underneath. This move has lent the bridge a new nickname, the Blinking Eye Bridge.

This is how this bridge was put in place: manufactured a few miles down the river and transported upriver by the "Asian Hercules" (Rotterdam) floating crane.

(images credit: Longsands)

This is the only bridge that "loves you" back :)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Clinometers and tree height

A look at some of our stately giants

Posted Sunday, July 15, 2007

The second largest Osage orange tree in the country is at Hagley Museum. Danielle Quigley

Americans have a fascination with the biggest, equating it with the best. The United States is home to the world's biggest ball of twine, T-rex skeleton and disco ball. And we catalog our natural wonders by size, too. Since the 1940s, the nonprofit group American Forests has been documenting the largest known specimens of 826 species of trees. A listing of these champions can be found at the National Register of Big Trees ( resources/bigtrees). There's a 128-foot balsam poplar in Minnesota, a 141-foot red maple in Great Smoky National Park, but, alas, not a single Delaware tree in the registry.

But that doesn't mean our trees are puny. "From pre-colonial days, Delaware was primarily deciduous broad-leaf forest," says Dr. Sue Barton, University of Delaware Cooperative Extension specialist in ornamental horticulture. "Much of this wooded land has been lost to development, but tracts of old forest survive.

"So, although we may not have the nation's champion tree in any particular species, we certainly have a greater number of big trees than you'll find in Midwestern states that were originally prairie land."

The state has been keeping track of its own champion trees for decades. "Big Trees of Delaware," available online at forestry/forms/bigtrees.pdf, is a guide to the First State's champions, produced by a team from the Delaware Forest Service, including urban forestry coordinator Henry Poole, who contributed to the third, and most recent, edition.

"The guide is a way to draw attention to the state's biggest trees and get citizens interested in tree preservation," says Poole. "It was fun to put together, and people tell us it's a lot of fun to use."

Pore through its 69 pages and you'll discover that the state's tallest tree is a 166-foot yellow poplar at Winterthur Museum. But this poplar isn't the biggest tree in the state, as height is only one factor in what constitutes a big tree. Foresters also consider the trunk circumference and the average crown spread, using a formula to come up with the total points earned by a tree.

And, in case you were wondering, foresters don't need fire truck ladders or bucket trucks to measure the tippy-top of trees. They use clinometers, devices that measure the line of sight above or below horizontal.

The biggest white pine in the state is a specimen off of Way Road in Hockessin that has a 42-foot crown spread and a height of 124 feet. In contrast, the champion redbud tree, located at Hagley Museum, has a crown spread of 41 feet and is just 47 feet tall.

"It's all relative," says Barton. "As a species, redbuds are a lot smaller than white pine. Redbuds usually top out at about 30 feet tall, so 47 feet is pretty impressive."

One of Poole's favorite champion trees is remarkable for its circumference, not its height. A Japanese zelkova tree, located on a private estate in Greenville, has a circumference of 318 inches. "It's like no other zelkova I've ever seen," raves Poole.

Another one of Poole's favorites is an Osage orange tree at Hagley Museum that is the second biggest Osage orange in the country. This stout-branched tree has a circumference of 307 inches, a crown spread of 83.5 feet and stands 66 feet tall.

They may not qualify as champions, but Sue Barton's favorite big trees are the "string of pearls" along Kennett Pike that start in Greenville and extend to the state line. These stately old elms, sycamores and oaks were planted in the 1920s by Pierre S. du Pont, who funded the construction of Kennett Pike. The trees were a birthday gift to his wife, Alice, who remarked that the string of pearls she'd like best would be a string of handsome trees.

To see some of the biggest trees in New Castle County and nearby areas, plan to attend "On the Trail of Champion Trees," a day-long guided excursion on July 26. To register, call Longwood Gardens at (610) 388-1000.

Native Delaware is a weekly column by the university's Cooperative Extension on First State plants, animals and weather. McDonough is a communications specialist for the University of Delaware. To suggest a topic or ask a question, please contact McDonough at 831-1358 or

Friday, July 13, 2007

Ball Bank Indicator for Safe Curve Speed

The term "Ball Bank Indicator" refers to an inclinometer that is used for the specific purpose of determining safe (uniform advisory) curve speeds for horizontal curves. It measures the overturning force (side friction), measured in degrees, on a vehicle negotiating a horizontal curve - whether it is an isolated curve, multiple "S" curve, or a ramp to/from a freeway. Typically used by the Department of Transportation and other advisory transportation agencies.

Rieker has been manufacturing 'ball-in-tube" style inclinometers, angle indicators and measuring instruments since 1917. The 1023W1 (shown above) has been the industry standard for ball banking and used nationwide by DOT, highway and traffic engineers. Precision tube manufactured to MIL specifications, ±20º range, accurate 1º increments. Simple to use, fast precise visual indication.

The RDS7-BB digital ball banking unit features an audible alert, an LCD displaying angle to 0.01º, RS232 output (instant readouts right to your laptop), and optional programmable trip angles - make this unit the most versatile and easy to use ball banking package available. It does not require a second operator to record the angle, the audible alarm alerts the driver allowing him to keep his eyes on the road - more cost effective and safer to operate.

Accelerometer et al: Holmwood On How In2Games Will Wii-ify 360 and PS3

Accelerometer et al: Holmwood On How In2Games Will Wii-ify 360 and PS3

Friday, July 06, 2007

projectors with ease-of-use and advanced features to maximize professional presentations

Canon Launches 3 New High-Quality XGA LCD Projectors Displays | 29th Jun 2007

Canon offers three new LCD projectors that provide the perfect solution for portable large displays

The new LV-7265, LV-7260, and LV-X7 projectors provide crisp, clear and bright projections, with ease-of-use and advanced features to maximize professional presentations

Singapore, – Canon is proud to announce the launch of three new feature-rich projectors - the LV-7265, LV-7260, and LV-X7 that provide small and home office users, government corporations and corporate users bright and high-quality XGA images.

The stellar blend of an extremely short throw distance and a powerful, yet versatile, 1.6x Canon wide-angle zoom lens, ensures bright "large-screen" high-fidelity images. The new LV projector series are well-suited for presenting graphics and video from laptop computers, videos from DVDs and VCRs or even live images from the Canon RE-455X Visualizer, which can easily be connected to Canon’s digital camcorders and digital cameras for fast, seamless video projection.

“In today’s business environment, customers not only expect advanced features in the projectors to make great presentations, but also want innovative user friendliness that makes delivering an impactful presentation easier.” says Andrew Koh, Director and General Manager of the Consumer Imaging and Information Division at Canon Singapore Pte Ltd. “Canon’s new range of LV projectors effectively meet these needs and showcase our commitment to technological research and design as these projectors are affordably engineered to provide clear and bright images with versatile ease of use for the presenters themselves.”

Perfect presentations
Canon's new LV-7265, LV-7260 and LV-X7 Projectors output high-quality XGA (1024 x 768) resolution imagery and also support UXGA (1600x1200) and SXGA (1280x1024) resolution display through high-quality compression.

The top-of-line LV-7265 Projector delivers powerful 2500 ANSI Lumens brightness and is suited to use in larger meeting rooms, boardrooms and conference rooms. The LV-7260 provides 2000 ANSI lumens whilst the LV-X7 provides 1500 ANSI lumens. With powerful lumens brightness, projections are characterised by clear images and text, even in daylight or adverse ambient light.

Clear and bright projection
To effectively eliminate flare, ghosting and distortion that can degrade images and distract audiences, the projectors are fitted with anti-glare coating and twin aspherical optical elements.

All three projectors also feature flexible image settings with five automatic image modes (Presentation, Video, Cinema, Standard, sRGB) and manual settings for each mode to create custom presets to accomplish the perfect presentation.

On top of that, the LV-7260 and LV-X7 projectors feature Vertical Keystone Correction to eliminate trapezium distortion in spaces where the projector cannot be positioned perpendicular to the screen. The higher-end LV-7265 performs this task automatically using a built-in tilt sensor.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Supertrucks Demountable Glass Carrying Rack For Hourglass

Supertrucks Ltd, the UK’s largest manufacturer of specialist glass carrying systems, is now launching Fit & Glaze, a new and significantly improved demountable glass carrying rack for panel vans. The St Helens based company has just supplied the first Fit & Glaze rack system to Hourglass, a Havant-based specialist glass manufacturer.

Peter Wright, Supertrucks chairman, explains, “Our new Fit & Glaze demountable glass carrying system has been engineered to fit virtually any modern panel van. As such, the new Fit & Glaze is both easier and faster to fit/remove and yet it provides a safe and secure method of carrying up to 350kg of glazing product on an exterior rack.”

The Fit & Glaze system, which is priced from £740.00 + VAT, is designed to meet the requirements of building maintenance and glazing companies who do not regularly carry large glazing products on their vehicles. With the new Fit & Glaze these companies can share one rack between a number of vehicles to provide maximum operational flexibility. Two men can fit or remove the Fit & Glaze rack from a van in just two minutes. The rack fits over the top fixing bar and is secured to the bottom fixing points using easy to align turn-screw fixings.

Peter Collins, owner of Hourglass, a long-established specialist glass manufacturer, comments, “Fit & Glaze is ideal for our business where we only have an occasional requirement to carry large items of glass. We now have the flexibility to run two of our vans with neither or either fitted with the rack. It is the first Supertrucks rack we have bought and we have been very impressed with both the service provided by the company and the quality of the product, which we expect to last for very many years”.

Hourglass has specified the new Fit & Glaze for its latest fleet additions, two Renault Master long wheelbase high top panel vans. Supertrucks has fitted both these vans with full length full width roof racks and the top and bottom fixing points for the 3,500mm high by 2,870mm long Fit & Glaze demountable side rack. The rack has a white powder coat finish (mill finish or anodised is also available) and is equipped with three System 1 securing poles, marker boards and inclinometer.

In addition to the new Fit & Glaze demountable rack system Supertrucks also manufacturers a comprehensive range of fixed glass carrying racks and associated equipment for all popular makes of panel vans. The company also offers coachbuilt glass carrying bodies for chassis cabs in the 3.5 to 26 tonne gvw sector.

June 20th, 2007
Source: Supertrucks Ltd

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Laser Technology Unveils TruPulse 360

- Next-generation reflectorless laser rangefinder with an integrated compass and inclinometer -
CENTENNIAL, Colo., June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Historically, it is often inconvenient or unsafe to capture precise and accurate height and distance measurements for utility poles, facility infrastructure, mining features, avalanche routes or other features that impact a variety of industries. The new Laser Technology, Inc., (LTI) TruPulse(R) 360 overcomes situational and topographical barriers to allow convenient and safe professional measurement -- from any angle -- of virtually any man-made or natural feature in the world.

Based on LTI's successful TruPulse(R) 200 laser measuring device that hit the market in 2006, the TruPulse 360 combines an integrated compass, inclinometer and distance laser that delivers mapping-grade accuracy and the ability to shoot from any angle. The result is data collection that is easier, faster and measurably superior to any product offered to forestry, telecom, utility transmission and distribution and GIS professionals.

"We developed the TruPulse by combining our own patented laser technology with a definitive need for a fast, efficient and safe way to gather measurement and mapping data," said David Williams, CEO of Laser Technology, Inc. "We pushed the envelop to improve our first TruPulse product and create the TruPulse 360. I believe our TruPulse products will completely change the world of professional measurement and greatly enhance safety and efficiency in the field."

Previously, laser distance measuring devices with integrated compasses were limited in use by the degree of inclination -- the angle above or below horizontal at which the unit was held. Past a certain degree of inclination, compass readings became less accurate and reliable.

The TruPulse 360 utilizes the latest electronic compass technology to overcome limitations on other devices. The internal circuitry provides 3-axis monitoring of the earth's magnetic field and uses LTI's proprietary TruVector(TM) compass technology and calibration algorithms to produce the best possible azimuth accuracy, regardless of the instrument's orientation in physical space. The TruPulse 360 can be tilted, rolled or even used upside down, and it will still measure the correct azimuth in the direction that the user is viewing, allowing the ultimate freedom to "shoot from any angle."

"This feature is particularly useful when you're trying to get distance, height or location measurements in difficult or impossible-to-reach areas, such as in mountainous terrain, wetlands or across dangerous snowfields," said Williams. "We began removing data gathering limitations with TruPulse 200, and now our TruPulse 360 takes that process substantially further."

TruVector compass technology also allows for a simple field calibration procedure. It evaluates the local magnetic environment and provides user feedback on the quality of calibration. In addition, the instrument keeps a constant watch on its internal status via built-in system tests, which continually monitor the integrity of the compass calibration and alert a user if a re-calibration is required.

"The TruPulse 360 will help our customers to produce quality results in the field by providing even more flexibility in data gathering, locations and capabilities," Williams commented.

About Laser Technology, Inc.

Laser Technology, Inc. is a Colorado-based company devoted to the design and manufacture of innovative laser-based speed and distance measurement instruments for traffic safety and professional measurement organizations and businesses. Laser Technology, Inc. currently holds more than 40 laser-based United States patents, and its products are used around the world. Visit Laser Technology on the Web at or call 800-280-6113 or 1-303-649-1000 for product and purchasing information.

Laser Technology, Inc.

CONTACT: Paul Witt, +1-303-417-6303,, or Gina
Seamans, +1-303-417-6303,, both for Laser Technology

Web site:

© 2007 SYS-CON Media Inc.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

4-20mA Temperature Compensated Inclinometer

The Engineering Search Engine

The NGi Series of inclination sensors - NG2i, NG3i, and NG4i - is capacitive liquid based sensors with integrated sensor and excitation electronics. The thermal drift of the primary sensor is further compensated by an electronic equalization of the temperature. An integrated highly stable voltage regulator makes it possible to supply the inclinometer from any unregulated supply or battery as low as +8V and up to +30VDC. The measuring principle assures a linear angle output with 4…20mAs calibrated to equal the measuring range of the sensor. (Maximum range is ±80 degrees with NG4i). The measuring time constant can be ordered with longer rise times as an option. The current loop supplies power to the sensor, which means that the complete unit operates as a 2-wire system.

Applications: The NGi Series with its current loop output is well suited for industrial use where high accuracy and long-term stability are required in a noisy environment where high temperature changes occur and non-stable supply voltages are present.

For applications where 2-axis inclination is useful please refer to their SB2i Box. Where both zero and gain adjustment is desired both the SB1i and SB2i are be recommended.

The NGi Series has been used in such industries as mining, food, bridge building, crane manufacturing, agriculture machinery, process machines, transport systems and auto as well as OEM systems. This sensor line of inclinometers has had excellent results for a variety of applications like pitch and roll measurements and vehicle tilt monitoring.

Accelerometer et al: British Telecom tries to wed Nintendo Wii-style technology to a tablet PC.

Accelerometer et al: British Telecom tries to wed Nintendo Wii-style technology to a tablet PC.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Cool Panoramic shots with a 360 degree Nikon

May 29th, 2007 by James in Conceptual Gadgets

The fun thing about conceptual design is thinking outside the box and making it look darn near real. Who needs actual engineering to get in the way of the creative process? But in the digital age, even the what if can go from concept to production is less than the time it takes to hype an iPhone.

360 Nikon

Well, over at Yanko Design, they have another great what if which could create panoramic pictures the easy way. Imagine not having to frame and reframe picture after picture in order to overlap them for a panorama you’ll have to stitch together later in Photoshop. That’s the basic idea behind designer Ye Chen’s Nikon camera concept which captures an unbroken view of a landscape by using an ergonomic cylindrical form lens to image an all-round 360 continuous degree photograph.

It’s trapezoidal design is purely for show, mind you, but it does include several indicators, such as an angle gauge and inclinometer to help properly position the camera for maximum exposure to the image. It will also gauge the direction of the rotating lens.

Just in concept for now, but the idea of a continuous rotating lens to capture the panoramic landscape in real time would make for a killer add on to any digital camera.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

One-stop-shop Citroën bodies

Citroën has relaunched its Ready to Run one-stop vehicle programme, which now includes a variety of new bodies for its recently introduced Dispatch and Relay vans. It also features a wider range of specialist bodies, van racking, tail lifts and a dual fuel conversion. "The programme is unique in that it offers all the customer benefits of high quality, innovative design and shorter delivery times," says Citroën's CV operations manager Robert Handyside. "Thanks to Citroën's unique pricing proposition, it also offers customers the benefits of exceptional value for money, delivering cost savings of up to many thousands of pounds over competitor offers

Ingemex has introduced an all-new dropside body for the new Relay, featuring a new larger ladder-frame with galvanised wire mesh cab protection. Based on the Relay 35 L3 120 chassis cab it has a 1,500kg payload and costs £12,495. "Our problem is trying to get hold of vehicles to convert," says Tony Brown, external sales director. "All manufacturers seem to be suffering from long lead times." He tells MT that Citroën is currently taking 12 weeks to supply chassis while Ford is quoting October or November for Transit.

A newcomer to the Ready to Run programme is Buckstone Motor Bodies, which is offering a Luton body for the long- and extra long-wheelbase Relay chassis cab. The body comes as pictured, but is available with an aerodynamic head cover for an additional £200. "A lot of Luton buyers are in the removals sector and prefer the flat front to maximise interior space," a spokesman says. Unique to the Ready to Run programme is the Supertrucks glass-carrier conversion, which is now available for Berlingo, Dispatch and Relay. Vans include a full-length/full width anodised aluminium roof rack, a side carrying rack, two internal racks, reflective safety markers and an inclinometer.

Lift platform capable of safely lifting a picker as high as 10 meters (33feet) while on a 20º slope

Need to hand-pick an avocado off the top of a tree that stands as tall as the peak of your two-story house? For a world-class solution, you'd buy from Hydralada, the New Zealand-based manufacturer of self-propelled elevating work platforms for the orchard industries.

"We test our applications with other engines regularly, but for the past 28 years, there has been no question: KOHLER is our number one gas-engine supplier," says Andy Smith, President of Hydralada. "When it comes to torque -- which our apps need -- and reliability, no other engine comes close to KOHLER." In case "no other engine comes close" sounds a little exaggerated, Smith offers proof: Hydralada reports "many" elevating platforms have clocked 10,000 to 12,000 hours -- and three KOHLER engines have passed 20,000 hours of service on a KOHLER Magnum 10 or Command 15 rated at 1,500 hours! "There are several reasons for the high average operating hours," says Smith. "Most orchards run the machines about 80 percent of the time at about 1200-1500 rpm, and the environment is very clean. Plus, we stress that customers always use the recommended oil -- 30W for the KOHLER Magnum and the multi-weight oil for the Command. We're convinced that really makes a big difference. Even so, those are some almost unbelievable hours!"

Founded by Smith in 1975, Hydralada -- a phonetic play on "hydraulicladder" -- initially produced a no-frills cherry or apple picker. But company engineers have innovated Hydralada products to world-class levels and the company now offers an impressive array of technically sophisticated models, including a platform designed for the avocado industry capable of safely lifting a picker as high as 10 meters (33feet) while also negotiating an orchard on a slope of up to 20 degrees.

Smith points out that when a customer buys Hydralada, he is buying technology and reliability. "We've worked closely with Kohler on engine specs and refinements throughout the years. And our customers are looking for the KOHLER name on the engine," says Smith.

- Andy Smith, President, Hydralada

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

4-Wheeler Modifications Includes Inclinometer

Inclinometers used for fun stuff too!

2Sweet's 1999 4Runner Highlander Modifications:

Wind Deflectors :
I purchased the 4 piece set (front and rear doors) of WeatherFlectors by ClimAir (purchased from the MacNeil Automotive Accessories web site). These deflectors are of high quality material and are easy to install. The deflectors fit in the window channel and do not require the use of tape during the installation.

Toyota Sunroof Wind Deflector :
Purchased from Texas Toyota Wholesale Parts web site. Not only does the sunroof wind deflector look great, it also reduces the amount of wind noise heard in the vehicle.

Toyota Windshield Bug Deflector :
Purchased from Texas Toyota Wholesale Parts web site. The windshield bug deflector is designed of high quality plastic and looks great on the front of a black truck. It provides an additional 3 inches of height to the front of the vehicle which reduces the amount of small flying particles and bugs from hitting the windshield.

Toyota Smoked Headlight Covers :
Purchased from Shop the Warehouse web site. These headlight covers are only used when offroading to protect the headlights from damage. The covers are not legal in New York State for driving on public roads.

Clear Corner Lights :
These clear corner lights, which were purchased on eBay look great as they take out the yellow reflector of the corner light. It is replaced with a clear reflector and a yellow/orange light bulb that produces a similar effect when the lights are on, but provide a more subtle look to the front of the vehicle when the lights are off.

Floor Liners :
I have the front and rear set of Husky Liners Floor Liners in Black. Purchased from Cabela's web site. They are made of a rubberized thermo-plastic material. These are a great in protecting the truck's Oak colored carpeting, especially in the winter. I have the new version which have stay put nibs (SPiN) on the bottom, the mats do not move around at all. The driver's pedal area does NOT need to be trimmed, as some have had to do with the older versions.

Air Horns :
Purchased from the local automotive parts store, this Wolo Air Horn provides a much louder horn that the standard horn on the 4Runner. I purchased the two horn kit, which I feel is loud enough to accomplish the desired effect.

Toyota Cargo Net :
Purchased from Texas Toyota Wholesale Parts web site. This is the original equipment manufacturer cargo net. This is installed by drilling a 1/4 inch hole on each side of the cargo compartment at 14 inches above the floor level and about 4 13/16" in from the weatherstripping. The purpose of the cargo net is to keep loose items from bouncing around the cargo area.

Factory Roof Rack Rail Removal :
I removed the 3 inner rails from the factory roof rack. These 3 rails were mounted flush against the painted roof of the vehicle. The removal definately makes washing and waxing easier. I keep the inner rails in the cargo area, so that in case I need them, they are there. They can be installed in little time with no tools.

Inclinometer :
Purchased from Rieker Inc.'s web site. The inclinometer measures the tilt of the vehicle while driving on hills and off-road. Although it is not needed on an everyday basis, it is fun to watch while going around sharp turns. I mounted this device with two-sided tape where the CD player would go. It was just about a perfect fit.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Key to Wii's Controller and New iPhone, 'Mems' Are a Hot Product

The market for tiny mechanical motion sensors -- like the ones in Nintendo's Wii -- is taking off. Low-end sensors have dropped in price, opening the market for consumer applications like videogames and cellphones.

read more | digg story

I'm looking for a tilt sensor with voltage output

Someone posted a need to locate a tilt sensor with 0-5V output. Rieker Inc has several inclinometer sensors that will easily meet this. NGU Series, H4 Series are examples.

read more | digg story

Monday, May 07, 2007

Formula for Safety

Here are some regulations and standards (OSHA, ANSI, etc) for safety relating to all types of lift equipment (boom trucks, offroad forklifts, cranes, etc).

Informative Safety Oriented Powerpoint Presentation

Monday, April 30, 2007

Ultra-portable SNG (satellite news gathering) terminals

Norsat Unveils Next Generation of Ultra-Portable SNG Terminals

Vancouver, BC, April 17, 2007--(T-Net)--Norsat International (Toronto:NII.TO) (OTC BB:NSATF.OB) announced today that it has unveiled its next-generation family of ultra-portable SNG (satellite news gathering) terminals -- the Norsat GLOBETrekker SNG Terminal -- at NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) 2007, the world's largest broadcast television exhibition.

"Satellite terminals are typically a trade off between portability and performance. For Norsat to provide both in the GLOBETrekker, is a testament to their engineering ability," said Tim Williams, managing director of UK-based SNG specialist, Sat-Comm Ltd.

The Norsat GLOBETrekker SNG Family(TM) is available as a highly integrated system which includes a carbon fiber antenna, motorized feed assembly, LNB, 40W SSPA, BUC, motorized azimuth/elevation superstructure, built-in inclinometer, compass, GPS; a baseband unit with a modulator, up-converter, spectrum analyzer, DVB-S receiver, Ethernet switch, DC-DC converter, shock protected chassis; a system controller including a wired display with software and a graphical user interface. Customers may elect to use a built-in MPEG-2 encoder or employ one of their own choosing.

Sleekly packaged in rugged, self-contained IATA-friendly wheelable cases, the system easily meets the new stringent checked baggage restrictions imposed by most of the world's leading airlines including British Airways, American, Delta, Lufthansa, KLM and others. The new weight and linear length restrictions are 23kg and 157cm (L+W+H), respectively.

The terminal is particularly well suited for "grab-and-go" applications and is well-suited for transport in small helicopters, planes and cars. It has also been designed to withstand harsh transport and operating conditions.

Options include a highly compact MPEG-2 reception and monitoring panel designed by UK-based SNG specialists, Sat-Comm Ltd ( The panel includes a built-in 4:2:2 IRD capable of monitoring true broadcast quality transmissions. The monitoring panel is packaged in a single Pelican case and is available with an auto power option. The auto power enables users the ability to power the system, including the 40W SSPA from a 90-260 V AC source or a 12V DC car battery source.

The new product is on display at the company's booth, # C8547, in the Satellite Technologies Hall, at NAB 2007 at the Las Vegas Convention Center until April 19th, 2007. It will also be on display at the Sat-Comm booth, # OE311, in the Outside Area.

Further information can be obtained by calling 1-410-703-1607.

Accelerometer et al: MEMS Technology: It's Everywhere and Growing (or shrinking) Fast!

Accelerometer et al: MEMS Technology: It's Everywhere and Growing (or shrinking) Fast!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tilt Sensors for Fragile Goods in Transport's an interesting and simple device to see if your package has been handled improperly, as in "oops, I dropped it, don't tell anyone!"...

ShockWatch Tilt Indicators
  • Ship your fragile, sensitive, or calibrated goods without surrendering control of their handling.
  • Prevent mishandling every step of the way with ShockWatch Tilt Indicators.
Affixed directly to your goods or packaging, these tilt indicators detect and record unacceptable tilting on goods that must remain upright. Simple, cost-efficient and highly effective, these attention-getting devices provide visual deterrents to unacceptable handling, no matter what you're shipping.

Removal of the adhesive backing automatically arms the devices. The self-stick backing utilizes the most aggressive 5 mil acrylic adhesive available, creating a permanent bond on all but the roughest containers — ensuring that once applied, the device cannot be reset, and the product cannot be tipped without indisputable evidence of mishandling.

Additionally, the Tilt Indicators contain a vacuum seal that eliminates any effects of humidity or temperature changes.

ShockWatch Tilt Indicator products

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Winds make tram riders a bit queasy

...another interesting application where a tilt sensor is utilized...

By RANDY NEVES, Special to
06:13 PM PDT on Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The ride up to Marquam Hill has it's built-in adventures. But throw in a gust of wind and riders can get a little queasy. "When you come down your stomach kind of drops," said first-time rider Rachel Butler.

On a day like this it's no problem.

City of Portland

Employees can run the tram cars at full-speed and monitor the on-board tilt meter without concern.

But a couple of weeks ago it was a different story. Cabin attendants say high winds got the best of some riders. "We just usually slow it down and just chug through it if it gets too heavy will put the breaks on."

OHSU tram manager Bill say these tram cars are used in blizzards in the alps. In fact, Portland's tram has sustained head on winds up to 70 miles per hour without flinching.

But if get a side wind from the south, OHSU pays close attention. "We're watching the passengers a little bit more to see how they're taking the ride."

Tram stoppages are rare so far. Out of 17,700 trips so far, the tram has been closed three times. When it does happen, the university fires up the old ground shuttles to take people back and forth.

How often can we expect this? "It's hard to answer. It's like, 'can I predict the weather?' No I can't," said Mike Commissaris.

Tram builders say it's a wait-and-see situation as passengers build up their own wind resistance.

...even still, nice to know they are monitoring the situation! Skip

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Norsat Unveils Next Generation of Ultra-Portable SNG Terminals

Norsat Unveils Next Generation of Ultra-Portable SNG Terminals

Vancouver, BC, April 17, 2007--(T-Net)--Norsat International (Toronto:NII.TO) (OTC BB:NSATF.OB) announced today that it has unveiled its next-generation family of ultra-portable SNG (satellite news gathering) terminals -- the Norsat GLOBETrekker SNG Terminal -- at NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) 2007, the world's largest broadcast television exhibition.

"Satellite terminals are typically a trade off between portability and performance. For Norsat to provide both in the GLOBETrekker, is a testament to their engineering ability," said Tim Williams, managing director of UK-based SNG specialist, Sat-Comm Ltd.

The Norsat GLOBETrekker SNG Family(TM) is available as a highly integrated system which includes a carbon fiber antenna, motorized feed assembly, LNB, 40W SSPA, BUC, motorized azimuth/elevation superstructure, built-in inclinometer, compass, GPS; a baseband unit with a modulator, up-converter, spectrum analyzer, DVB-S receiver, Ethernet switch, DC-DC converter, shock protected chassis; a system controller including a wired display with software and a graphical user interface. Customers may elect to use a built-in MPEG-2 encoder or employ one of their own choosing.

Sleekly packaged in rugged, self-contained IATA-friendly wheelable cases, the system easily meets the new stringent checked baggage restrictions imposed by most of the world's leading airlines including British Airways, American, Delta, Lufthansa, KLM and others. The new weight and linear length restrictions are 23kg and 157cm (L+W+H), respectively.

The terminal is particularly well suited for "grab-and-go" applications and is well-suited for transport in small helicopters, planes and cars. It has also been designed to withstand harsh transport and operating conditions.

Options include a highly compact MPEG-2 reception and monitoring panel designed by UK-based SNG specialists, Sat-Comm Ltd ( The panel includes a built-in 4:2:2 IRD capable of monitoring true broadcast quality transmissions. The monitoring panel is packaged in a single Pelican case and is available with an auto power option. The auto power enables users the ability to power the system, including the 40W SSPA from a 90-260 V AC source or a 12V DC car battery source.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Rugged, Accurate Visual Rollover Warning for Lift & Construction Equipment

1017 Inclinometer Series

Rugged, Accurate Visual Rollover Warning for Lift & Construction Equipment

Rieker is continually striving to improve the ability of their tilt indicators to provide highly visible alerts for all types of lift and construction equipment. One product that continues to set the bar for early warning devices is the 1017 “ball-in-tube” Inclinometer Series. With several models, all available with customer specified color warning zones, these inclinometers greatly improve the vehicle operator’s ability to detect dangerous roll over situations before equipment damage or injury can happen.

A 1017 model is typically mounted in the operator cab of an off-road forklift (or material handler) in a clear line of sight to help operators identify when they are transcending too great a slope for the equipment in an effort to prevent a 'tip over' (or side to side roll over). These tilt indicators are also mounted on the rear of a bucket/utility truck or fire aerial ladder rig in order to determine platform level prior to raising the boom. These MIL SPEC instruments are painted with customer specified color warning zones to quickly identify the recommended safety limits for tilt set forth by the Original Equipment Manufacturer.

Over the years many versions of inclinometers were developed along with variations of Gradiometers when percent grade was preferred. Once the Industry realized that these products worked for the life of the vehicle, and were relatively inexpensive, these indicators were being applied on original equipment worldwide.

Rieker® Instrument Company, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of accurate, rugged, weatherproof inclinometers and tilt indicating instruments, since 1917. Rieker’s full line of tilt switches and inclinometers can be seen at

Monday, April 02, 2007

Recently Mentioned in "I Think Mining" Blog

Doing some research on the web for other applications that utilize inclinometers, I came across an insightful blog aptly named "I Think Mining" - a blog covering (you guessed it) mines and mining, covering topics in the news worldwide concerning a variety of topics within the mining industry. It seems we have a mutual interest in regards to providing information about our fields of expertise so the author Jack Caldwell mentioned this blog as an informative resource.

The point here is that by interlacing pertinent information across multiple channels, we create a greater cross referenced library of data. I'll be on the look out for other informative blogs of interest.

Keep it level!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Hidden Roll Bar Protection Potential Hazard for Fire and Rescue?

Q: An individual involved in a rollover accident in a "3 class BMW convertible" relayed that after the accident, there were two tubes sticking up from each seat, acting as roll bars, that were not exposed when first arrived at the scene. Has anyone heard of such a hidden roll bar system? Would this be a potential hazard to rescue personnel similar to non-deployed airbags?

A: There are currently two types of automatic roll-bars (RPS/ROPS). A pop-up model that is mounted behind the occupant seat and a second type that flips up to look much like a conventional flat roll-bar. These have been on the production line for some time, but with little publicity until now.

BMW Rollover Protection System (RPS) that you are asking about can be seen on the BMW E36 Convertible. This is a spring loaded unit which is mounted directly behind each rear seat headrest. Unlike Volvo and BMW, which are using a mechanical spring loaded deployment, both Mercedes pop-up and flip-up systems are hydraulically deployed. The Mercedes pop-up system has a single bar with two "U" shaped bends which extend up through two openings. The Volvo and BMW are two separate cassettes.

The RPS/ROPS is activated by an inclinometer to sense vehicle inclination and lateral acceleration. There is a G-sensor to sense vehicle weightlessness also.

The system will deploy when the control module senses any of the following:

- When the vehicle approaches a lateral angle limit of 62 degrees.

- When the vehicle experiences a lateral acceleration of approximately 3 Gs.

- When the vehicle approaches its longitudinal angle limit at approximately 72 degrees.

- When a combination of longitudinal acceleration and longitudinal angle would cause the vehicle to roll over in the forward direction.

- When the vehicle becomes airborne and achieves weightlessness for at least 80ms.

The control module senses the above (except for weightlessness) by means of the inclinometer built into the control unit. If the vehicle is tilted or accelerated enough, the air bubbles in one of the tubes in the inclinometer pass by a LED. A photo transistor mounted across from the LED senses a change in density of the liquid when the bubble crosses the beam. It then sends a signal to the processing chip. The Volvo/BMW control unit will then send a signal to the actuator solenoids on each of the two separate cassettes. This releases the restraining catches and the roll bars will spring upward.

As with the SRS, the backup power supply capacitors allow the system to function even if the vehicle power is interrupted in an accident. The Volvo RPS has a reserve power unit which will store a charge for 5 seconds.

Both types of RPS will deploy between 2 and 3 tenths of a second!! Once the sensor in the vehicle predicts the car to be in a rollover situation, the bars will deploy. They may also be deployed by the driver (Mercedes) using a manual switch on the dash. The RBS may also be interconnected to the airbag system. De-energize the electrical system as soon as possible, including any device such as GPS, cell phones and alarm systems which may back feed the SRS.

A dangerous point to remember is that they look harmless and blend in with the interior of the car's color scheme. Perhaps the best way to avoid injury to a rescue worker is to manually deploy the roll-bar in a controlled situation. Mercedes' have an electric switch which can slowly (approximately 4 seconds) raise or lower the roll-bar. The Volvo mechanics that have been trained in the system can manually deployed the roll-bar using a long handed straight screw driver. The BMW can be activated by a tester or MoDiC; there is an access hole for trained personnel to manually activate the system.

Some systems can be locked out using a computer. When transported the Volvo convertible ROPS is deactivated at the factory, the dealer uses a computer to reactivate the system.

For rescuer holding traction for a C-spine injury, the rescuer would normally assume a position behind the patient. This now put the path of deployment in the neck head area of the rescuer! I measured the distance for a Mercedes and that was approximately 10 inches from the deck to the top of the pop-up roll bar, the Volvo roll-bar extends 20 inches - once deployed they have to be manually reset, this will allow you to safely work behind the patient. When in doubt if the bar has been deployed, keep a proper safe working distance. This goes for any supplemental restraint device.

The pop-up type has a protective plastic cap that snaps on a "U" shaped bar. The flip-up type is padded and folds down to wrap around the rear deck. It blends in perfectly and you might assume it to be just part of the plastic trim to the fabric top.

I have co-authored an emergency guideline for airbags and automatic roll-bars to be used for rescue personnel. IT was published on the Internet by Emergency Grapevine Magazine. You may find it by going to the following link:

There will be a picture of a Mercedes CLK with the pop-up type roll-bars. Your local dear for BMW, Volvo and Mercedes should be more than happy to show you these new devices and perhaps deploy them. Specific information on RPS/ROPS is available in technical references from the manufactures.

As we make safer cars for the occupant, we also increase the risk to emergency service personnel. If you don't have a dealer near by I will be glad to send you a jpg of both types of automatic roll-bars.

Ron Shaw
Plymouth, MA

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Rieker Boom Angle Indicators are:

Easily installed - precalibrated remote sensor box installs with 2 screws!

Operator Friendly - maintenance free & simple to use

Reliability - superior reliability over any other boom angle indicators

Shut-off Ready - optional switch outputs to shut-off solenoids or activate an external alarm or lamp

Built Rugged - reliable operation through weather and usage extremes

Cost Effective - ensured quality while saving time and money

Monday, March 19, 2007

Back Hoes Description and Uses

Excavators where the digging action is a downward arch motion are known as backhoes or hoes and even back shovels. Thus they are used to excavate below the ground surface or below the machine track level.

Picture of a crawler track backhoe

Back hoes beside being mounted on crawler tracks can also be mounted on a wheel base. Wheel mounted excavators are not specifically for bulk excavation but designed for mobility and general purpose works. The John Deere excavators and JCB excavators are the most well known examples of the wheeled based types. A typical modern back hoe and it's key components are depicted in the diagram below.

A Backhoe Diagram

Uses of back hoes

These machines are suitable for excavating trenches, pits for basement and smaller machines can handle general grading work. It is a versatile machine in that it can perform both excavation and lifting works. Example in drainage works or utility works , the back hoe can perform the trench excavation and handle the pipes or culverts. Thus this makes the need for a second lifting machine unnecessary.

During excavation the penetration force in to the material being excavated is achieved by the stick cylinder and the bucket cylinder. The buckets can be selected depending on the type of material excavated. For easily excavated material wide buckets are used. When excavating rocky material or blasted rocks, a narrow bucket is used. In utility works, the width of the required trench is the deciding factor in selecting the bucket.